The university will work with the business for two years under a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) to provide a sustainable business demand for the Harris Tweed Hebrides brand.
Harris Tweed Hebrides is the largest out of three tweed mills in operation, the brand produces 65 per cent of all Harris Tweed that is manufactured.
With the guidance of academics from RGU, Josie Steed from Gray’s School of Art and Karen Cross from the School of Creative and Cultural Business and a KTP associate Beth Wilson will work together to create sustainable business practices for Harris Tweed Hebrides.
Ruth Masson, marketing manager at Harris Tweed Hebrides, said: “We’re looking forward to collaborating with the RGU team on this exciting KTP project. Beth will be based at our mill in the Outer Hebrides working closely with our production, design, marketing and sales teams on new product development and building on our sustainability credentials. Together we aim to target new markets and keep Harris Tweed Hebrides at the forefront of the textiles industry.”
Josie Steed from Gray’s School of Art said: “This is a very exciting project and presents a huge opportunity for the University to work closely with a very well-known organisation to support its ambitions to expand into new markets.
“One of the big challenges which Harris Tweed Hebrides encounters is the seasonality of its product offer. We are going to be exploring opportunities in the growing accessories and interiors markets, and non-seasonal products that could help the mill and weavers to have year-round work.
“By partnering with the University, Harris Tweed Hebrides will gain a raft of technical expertise and resources which will hopefully help the organisation to evolve and flourish.”
This project is funded by Innovate UK’s Knowledge Transfer Partnerships programme and co-funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council.